Richard Fung

Founder - Filmmaker - Educator

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Bio

Richard Fung is a Trinidad born, Asian-Canadian gay filmaker, activist, teacher and community organizer.

Inspired by a community of Gay Asians, marching proudly with a banner proclaiming "We're Asian, Gay and Proud" at the 1979 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, Richard Fung returned to Toronto and formed the Gay Asians of Toronto (GAT) in 1980. This organization would be the first organization in Canada to advocate for LGBT2Q+ people of colour. Richard Fung would continue on to be a tireless outspoken activist for inclusion and ending racism in the Queer community. 

Amongst his many accomplishments he gave voice to gay Asian people in his 1984 documentary Orientations. This groundbreaking documentary featured interviews with 14 queer Asian people and looked at their experiences with coming out and racism they experienced in the wider queer community. Orientations challenges the white gay community to reconsider their perceptions of Asian passivity, traditionalism and inserts homosexuality into an Asian context, disrupting the idea that to be gay is unmentionable, or worse, “Western.”

"As the predominant images of homosexuals were white, my agenda was to speak back to homophobia as well as to the orientalism that exoticized and excluded us within gay and lesbian communities. I wanted to encourage Lesbian and Gay Asians to feel less alone and to become involved with community,"  - Richard Fung

Fung became one of Canada’s most widely exhibited artists working in video, showing in festivals and curated programs in major museums and community centres, hosted by major institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art, N.Y., and grassroots cultural organizations such as the Chinese Cultural Centre in Vancouver. As a writer, curator, lecturer and panelist, Fung is recognized for his contribution to contemporary film and video scholarship, particularly his examination of codes inherent to dominant forms of culture and for his clear presentations of strategic actions which challenge this dominance. 

He has received multiple awards and fellowships including the Bulloch Award for best Canadian work in the Inside Out Lesbian and Gay Film and Video Festival, Toronto (1996), the Bell Canada Award for Lifetime Achievement in Video Art (2000) and the Toronto Arts Award for Media Arts (2001).

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